Water, Sanitation and Hygiene

Jay-Z presents ‘Water for Life’ – a video call to action on the global water crisis

© UNICEF Angola/2006/Stark-Merklein
US hip-hop star Jay-Z visits a community in Angola suffering from lack of access to safe water.

By Anwulika Okafor

NEW YORK, USA, 17 November 2006 – Nearly 2 million children die each year due to unsafe water and inadequate sanitation. Last night at the United Nations, American rap star Jay-Z premiered his new video diary, ‘Water For Life’, which captures his journey into areas affected by the ongoing global water crisis.

In a partnership with MTV and the UN, Jay-Z toured several developing countries, meeting with young people who do not have access to safe water. He travelled with some of these children along the same roads they take every day to fetch water for their families and schools.

“It is unbelievable that someone so young could be doing that every single day,” he said.

UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman spoke at the premiere, emphasizing the need for action on this issue: “By increasing access to clean water and proper sanitation, we will not only save young lives, we will also be improving the quality of these lives – giving children a chance to fulfil their potential,” said Ms. Veneman.

‘A step in the right direction’

In communities throughout the developing world, UNICEF works to improve water and sanitation conditions – with an eye toward the Millennium Development Goal of halving the number of people without access to safe water or basic sanitation by 2015.

Currently, more than 1 billion people lack access to clean water, and 2.6 billion do not have basic sanitation facilities.

President Peter Gleick of the environmental research group, the Pacific Institute, also spoke at the ‘Water for Life’ premiere. “This event is a step in the right direction,” he said, noting the importance of outreach and education to address the global water-access crisis. The next step, he said, would be for everyone concerned about the crisis to “go out and act.”



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16 November 2006:
At the United Nations, US rapper Jay-Z premieres his video diary on the plight of those suffering from the worldwide water-access crisis.
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